Thursday, September 01, 2005

Rakaia Candidates

The candidates for the Rakaia electorate are:
Barr, Graeme (United Future)
Connell, Brian (National)
Davidson, Brian (ACT)
Main, Philippa (Jim Anderton's Progressive)
Mathers, Mojo (Green)
Milne, Tony (Labour)
Currently the seat is held by Brian Connell with a majority of 6,076 votes, having succeeded Jenny Shipley at the last election.

Graeme Barr is standing once again for United Future. In 2002, he gained a respectable 1,832 electorate votes while his party gained 2,319 party votes. I don't expect the party to do so well this time but I don't know much about the candidate to make firm predictions about him. What I do find fascinating is his email address - having a domain name of (whom I didn't know were still around) is like having a horse-drawn chariot for personal transport in this day and age.

Brian Connell, the sitting National MP, is likely to be returned to power. He does have a reputation as a maverick as when he gained the National candidacy in 2002, there were dark mutterings among the Nats that spilled over into the NBR. He is a good organizer as during the last election, his election billboards were up weeks before the National Party billboards were) and he's kept his head down with only a single comment about throwing cats to his discredit (the more recent ruckus about the forestry policy remains a cockup that could happen to anybody until further evidence comes to light). I expect him to retain or improve upon the 15,870 votes that he gained in 2002 while National should gain significantly more than 10,926 party votes it had received.

Brian Davidson is seemingly another stealth candidate yet his picture can be found here and he's described in the Ashburton Guardian as:
Mr Davidson, a prominent Ashburton businessman who recently sold his financial services business here, is venturing into national politics for the first time after lengthy stints on the Ashburton Licensing Trust and as President of the Ashburton Aquatic Park.

He is seeking a change of government in the forthcoming election and, believing that National will never again govern alone under the MMP system, is encouraging voters to give their party vote to ACT to ensure the party returns to Parliament.
ACT gained 2,525 party votes and 898 electorate votes in 2002, which is a large disparity but similar to their record in 1999 (2417 party votes and 535 electorate votes). I expect ACT's party vote to decrease significantly in this election while I remain less than certain about the candidate vote.

Phillipa Main is a Rolleston denizen that is studying for a law degree (according to the Ashburton Guardian). Her profile is more believable than that of Karen Silcock's with only the following sentence "With Jim Anderton’s determination we have achieved the lowest unemployment in the western world" betraying any sense of a personality cult.

Mojo Mathers, the Green Candidate, is a forestry management services provider. Her profile indicates her great concern about sustainable use of the land, which in Rakaia means that she's fed up with the cowpats from the dairy farms all over the place. An interesting note in her profile is that she says she has good relations with the Waitahi, which probably means that she spits everytime somebody says "Ngai Tahu" in her presence.

Lastly Tony Milne stands once again for Labour, having stood previously in 2002 where he gained 9,838 party votes and 9,794 electorate votes. His main handicap is his extreme youth; he was only 20 in 2002 and his life experience since then has been university and working as Tim Barnett's executive assistant. I expect his share of the vote to remain stable or to decrease in this coming election.